Book Summary: The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens

The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens Book Cover

Christopher Hitchens’ book, “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice,” is a critical analysis of the life and work of Mother Teresa. The book was published in 1995 and has since become a subject of controversy and debate. In this book, Hitchens challenges the conventional view of Mother Teresa as a saint and a symbol of compassion, and instead, presents a harsh critique of her actions and beliefs.

Chapter 1: Introduction

In the introduction, Hitchens provides an overview of Mother Teresa’s life and work. He highlights the contradictions between her public image as a selfless and compassionate humanitarian and the reality of her actions. Hitchens argues that Mother Teresa’s mission was not based on love and compassion, but rather on a fundamentalist and dogmatic view of Catholicism.

Chapter 2: The Myth of Mother Teresa

In this chapter, Hitchens delves into the myth-making surrounding Mother Teresa and how it has obscured the truth about her work. He argues that Mother Teresa’s reputation was built on a series of falsehoods and exaggerations, and that her work was not as effective or altruistic as it appeared on the surface.

Chapter 3: The Dark Night of the Soul

In this chapter, Hitchens examines Mother Teresa’s spiritual life and her relationship with God. He argues that Mother Teresa’s spirituality was marked by a deep sense of despair and emptiness, and that her beliefs were fundamentally flawed and harmful.

Chapter 4: The Politics of Illusion

In this chapter, Hitchens explores Mother Teresa’s political views and her relationship with the Catholic Church. He argues that Mother Teresa’s politics were based on a regressive and reactionary worldview, and that her work was often counterproductive to the causes she claimed to support.

Chapter 5: The Final Verdict

In the conclusion, Hitchens presents his final verdict on Mother Teresa and her legacy. He argues that Mother Teresa’s work was not as effective or altruistic as it appeared on the surface, and that her beliefs were fundamentally flawed and harmful. He also criticizes the Catholic Church for its complicity in Mother Teresa’s actions and beliefs.

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Overall, “The Missionary Position” is a thought-provoking and controversial book that challenges the conventional view of Mother Teresa. Through careful analysis and critique, Hitchens presents a compelling case against the saintly image of Mother Teresa and instead reveals a complex and flawed woman whose work had unintended consequences.

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